Contact: Richard Urban
SAVE DC Coalition asks Mayor Fenty to launch an independent investigation about the expulsion of ULTRA Teen Choice from DC Public Schools
At a press conference and rally today , the SAVE DC Coalition called for Mayor Fenty to immediately launch an independent investigation into why ULTRA Teen Choice, a directive abstinence education program has been expelled from DC Public Schools. ULTRA Teen Choice, a directive abstinence education program that provides classroom HIV & Teen Pregnancy Prevention education, peer counseling by abstinent youth, and Clubs for youth to support them in staying abstinent has been kicked out of Stuart-Hobson Middle School and School Without Walls High School. Ultra Teen Choice has served several District of Columbia Public Schools for the past five years at no charge to the school system or city government.
Since the ULTRA Teen Choice program has already been reviewed and approved by the District of Columbia Public School HIV/AIDS Administration office, the SAVE DC Coalition asks why it has suddenly been banned by Chancellor Michelle Rhee.
The SAVE DC Coalition says that there are three key aspects leading to this ban. The co-founders of ULTRA Teen Choice, Richard & Stacey Urban are God-centered and have been operating a community ministry. The person who initiated the current attack on ULTRA Teen Choice, Tina May, implied in an email last spring that there is something wrong with a person who has faith in God operating a program that serves youth in public schools. Ms. May circulated this email to Principal Brandon Eatman and others. Discrimination based on one’s religious preference is a clear violation of the DC Human Rights Act.
The second key point is that teaching abstinence from sex before marriage as the expected standard for school age youth, which is the Federal standard accepted by one third of all states for their health education programs as the only type of sex education that should be taught, is being called anti-homosexual by opponents of ULTRA Teen Choice. There is a concerted effort underway to say that all types of sexual relations are on an equal footing. By this logic (or should we say, lack of logic), it is some how offensive to talk about marriage. Yet, homosexual relationships alone can never produce children, clearly showing that all types of sexual relationships are not equal. Furthermore, homosexual sex causes a much higher rate of sexually transmitted disease and other related health risks than heterosexual sex. Yet this information is not included anywhere in the newly drafted health education standards. Teaching youth to abstain from sex before marriage is not only good health policy, but marriage is a necessary institution for the continued existence and well being of society. Students consistently praise the ULTRA Teen Choice program in program evaluations, and no student has ever complained of being offended due to their sexual orientation. Knowledge about abstinence, relationship skills, refusal skills, goal setting and the many other areas covered are beneficial for all students.
The third point is that Ms Rhee’s administration has specifically targeted ULTRA Teen Choice because it does not fit their model for a “gay sensitive” organization. Richard Urban was specifically told in a meeting with Ms. Rhee’s special assistant Richard Nyankori and school official Chad Ferguson that the ULTRA Teen Choice program would not be approved if it opposed the health standards that specify discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation starting in 6th grade. Mr Nyankori asked Mr. Urban to issue a statement that affirms ULTRA Teen Choice’s acceptance of homosexual lifestyles in order to be approved by the Chancellor. It was not sufficient to state that ULTRA Teen Choice does not discriminate against anyone, and welcomes all students. In fact, Mr Nyankori falsely stated in an email to Principal Brandon Eatman that “The chancellor has placed a moratorium on all external providers of health and consumer education. Her goal is to ensure providers programs are consistent with DC standards”. In fact, no such moratorium exists. This false statement was used by Principal Eatman as a reason to stop the ULTRA Teen Choice program, which has operated successfully at Stuart-Hobson for four years. Ms Rhee has not offered any specific plan for reducing the HIV/AIDS infection rate among Washington DC youth. At the same time Ms. Rhee is attempting to shut down an effective program that promotes the only 100 per cent effective method of HIV/AIDS prevention by requiring unspecified criteria be met to be considered “gay sensitive”.
Joseph Laconte, a senior fellow with Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy has called this attack "The New Fundamentalism", and he likens it to "a kind of Star Chamber" where education and media elites "blacklist groups they don't like".
Chancellor Rhee says there are “serious concerns” regarding ULTRA Teen Choice, yet will not say what they are. She repeatedly insists that we pass a “gay sensitive” litmus test to be allowed to continue to work in DC Public Schools, while refusing to put that in writing.
Due to this serious breach of both common sense and of professional ethics, the SAVE DC Coalition asks Mayor Fenty to immediately launch an investigation into why ULTRA Teen Choice has been expelled from DC public schools. This is his obligation to the youth and parents of DC Public School students, who want to participate in the ULTRA Teen Choice program. This is especially crucial since Washington DC has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection of any city in the nation, nine times the national average.